BROTHER AND SISTER
by Josephine Lawrence
Illus. by Julia Greene
Cupples & Leon Company
Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her
Josephine Lawrence website;
please do not use on other sites without permission
"Three bundles and one boy landed in a heap on the floor."
"BROTHER," said Mother Morrison, "you haven't touched your glass of milk. Hurry now, and drink it before we leave the table."
Brother's big brown eyes turned from his knife, which he had been playing was a bridge from the salt cellar to the egg cup, toward the tumbler of milk standing beside his plate.
"I don't have to drink milk this morning, Mother," he assured her confidently. "Honestly I don't. It's raining so hard that we can't go outdoors and grow, anyway."
Louise, his older sister, said sharply. "Don't be silly!" but Ralph, who was in a hurry to catch his train, stopped long enough to give a word of advice.
"Look here, Brother," he urged seriously, "better not skip a morning. Your birthday is next week, isn't it? Well, if you're not tall enough by Wednesday morning, you can't have the present I bought for you last night. Too short, no present—you think it over."
He stooped to kiss his mother, tweaked Sister's perky bow of hair-ribbon, and with a hasty "Good-bye" for the others at the table, hurried out into the hall. They heard the front door slam after him.
Spurred by Ralph's mysterious hint, Brother drank his milk, and then the Morrison family scattered for their usual busy day.
Brother and Sister were left to clear the breakfast table. They always did this, carrying out the dishes and silver to Molly in the kitchen. Then they crumbled the cloth neatly. Molly declared she could not do without them.
"What do you suppose Ralph is going to give you?" speculated Sister, carefully folding up the napkin Louise had dropped, and slipping it into the white pique ring embroidered with an "L."
"Maybe it's a train?"
"No, I don't believe it's a train," said Brother slowly, crumbling a bit of bread and beginning to build a little farm with the crumbs. "No, I guess maybe he will give me a toolchest."
"Come on, and bring the bread tray," suggested Sister practically. She never forgot the task in hand for other interests. "Mother says we mustn't dawdle, Roddy, you know she did. It's my turn to feed the birds, so I'll crumb the table. Could I use your saw if you get a toolchest ?"
Brother answered dreamily that he supposed she could. He watched Sister and her crumbbrush sweep away his nice little bread-crumb fences, while he planned to build a real fence if Ralph's present should turn out to be the long-coveted toolchest.
When Sister had swept up every tiny crumb, she and Brother went out to scatter the bits of bread to the birds who, winter and summer, never failed to come to the back door and who always seemed hungry.
This morning there were robins, starlings, a pair of beautiful big blue jays, and, of course, the rusty little sparrows. Each bird seemed to be pretending to the others that he was looking for worms, and each one slyly watched the Morrison back door in hopes that two small figures would presently come out and toss them a breakfast of breadcrumbs.
Sister flung her crumbs as far as her short arm would send them, and managed to hit an indignant old starling squarely in the eye. He glared at her crossly.
"Birds don't mind getting wet, do they?" said Brother, as the sparrows hopped about in the driving rain and pecked gratefully at the crumbs. "Let's hop the way they do, Betty."
Sister obediently hopped, looking not unlike a very plump little robin at that, with her dark eyes and bobbing curls. Only, you see, she and Brother were much heavier than any birds, and they made so much noise that Molly came to the door to see what they were doing.
"Another rainy day and the two of you bursting with mischief!" she sighed good-naturedly. "Will you be quiet for an hour if I let you make a dough-man while I'm mixing my bread?"
Brother and Sister loved to make dough-men, and so while Molly kneaded her bread, they worked busily and happily at the other end of the table) shaping two men from the bit of sponge she gave them and quite forgetting to scold about the unpleasant weather which kept them indoors.
Their real names, you must know, were Rhodes and Elizabeth Morrison. Rhodes was six, and Elizabeth five, and sometimes they were called "Roddy" and "Betty," but most always Brother and Sister.
This was partly because they were so many Morrisons.
There was Daddy Morrison, who was a lawyer and who went to town every morning to a busy office that seemed, to Brother and Sister, when they visited him, to be all papers and typewriters.
There was dear Mother Morrison, who was altogether lovely, with brown eyes like Brother's, and dark curly hair like Sister.
There were Louise and Grace, the twins; they were fifteen and went to high school, and were very pretty and important and busy.
Then there was Dick, the oldest of them all, and Ralph, who went to law school in the city, and Jimmie, who was seventeen and the captain of the high school football team.
Counting Brother and Sister, seven children, you see, and as Molly truly said, "a houseful." Molly had lived with Mother Morrison since Louise and Grace were babies, and they would not have known what to do without her. She was as much a part of the family as any of them.
The Morrison house was a big, shabby, roomy place with wide, deep porches and many windows. There was a large lawn in front and an old barn in back where the older boys had fitted up a gymnasium with all kinds of fascinating apparatus, most of which Brother and Sister were forbidden to touch.
The Morrisons lived in Ridgeway, a thriving suburb of the city, where Daddy Morrison, Dick and Ralph went every day.
And now that you are introduced, we'll go back to Brother and Sister making dough-men in Molly's kitchen.
"What makes my dough-man kind of dark?" inquired Sister, calling Molly's attention to the queer-shaped figure she had pieced together.
Sure enough Sister's dough-man, and Brother's, too, was a rather dark gray, while the bread Molly was mixing was creamy white.
Mother Morrison, coming into the kitchen carrying Brother's rubbers and raincoat, saved Molly an explanation.
On to chapter 2
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